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Thread: Trademark Questions

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    I would guess that the first trademark I should get is the name of my business. Should I register the trademark as an individual first and then create the LLC or create the LLC first and then register the trademark as a corporation?
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    Mr. Tax Man
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    That assumes that your trademark isn't already taken. In most ordinary small businesses, there is no need to trademark your logo or brand. Having a trademark doesn't prevent another company or individual from using it -- in which case, you'll have to successfully defend the trademark infringement in court. That's not cheap.
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    Evan do you think if you created a product it would be wise to trademark it? Say I developed a software application. Would you suggest applying for a trademark or do you think the cost is still prohibitive?
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    If you create a product, such as software, I'd probably patent it. Trademarks deal strictly with the branding of it.

    So the eBay logo or Google logo is trademarked.

    I'd only deal with a patent or trademark if I thought it'd be a large scale product, or if it was innovative where I think others would copy it. Legally, anybody can still steal your stuff. It's your job to defend it in court, and that can be costly. [Lawyers are never cheap!] And from an accounting perspective, these costs end up being amortized over a period of time, and depending on the outcome of a lawsuit, your patent or trademark may be impaired afterwards.
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    Makes sense. I'm working on some things and wasn't expecting to patent or trademark it, but thought I'd ask to get your opinion. I'm sure what I'm doing isn't patentable and I doubt it will grow to the point where trademarking the name makes any sense.

    It's an interesting discussion though. I think many people rush to think they should grab a patent of trademark for fear someone will steal what they have not realizing that in general it probably isn't going to be legally stolen and that a trademark only protects you if you spend the time and money to defend it. Makes sense for Google and eBay, but not for most small businesses.
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    Well they expect it to be sort of like a battery (what most know as an assault). If I hit you, I'm arrested and the state charges and prosecutes me.

    If I steal your trademark, you'd have to KNOW I stole it, and have to sue them. It's all civil, not criminal.
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    True. The reality is very different from the expectation for many. For the most part I have a hard time seeing why a small business would apply for a trademark. I think it's usually more an ego thing where it makes them feel good, without realizing it's not nearly the protection they think.
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    It cost me $10 each to Trademark my business names. It was a simple one page form that I filed myself. I'm sure it's a bit of a deterrent and it would be helpful if someone locally starts using my name.

    I will definitely defend my business names. Sure lawyers are expensive - but, you're assuming you have to go through the entire legal process. In many cases a simple cease a desist letter from an attorney will resolve the problem. My attorney probably wouldn't charge me for it.

    I was even on the other end (I rec'd. the cease and desist letter) when I first started my business. I picked a name that was trademarked by another company and I had to stop using it. I picked another name immediately - didn't cost them anything but the letter and a stamp.
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    I think the thing is you still need to spend the time to find out if someone is using your name and there could always be the company that does make you go through the legal system.

    If it offers some protection the cost seems worthwhile, but if others are using your name and you don't stop them you I think you can lose the trademark.
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    And you could save yourself $10 by not trademarking the name. As an LLC, or even a corporation, states will not allow deceptively similar names, especially if you're doing the same thing.

    Your trademark is worth whatever you're willing to pay to defend it. If that is only the cost of a letter and stamp, then so be it.
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